Range of tac­tics to curb wormer re­sis­tance threat

Farm­ing

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FARMING -

Farm­ers and crofters are be­ing given ad­vice on how to de­velop a worm con­trol plan for their sheep.

Qual­ity Meat Scot­land (QMS) has teamed up with its coun­ter­parts in Eng­land and Wales to pub­lish the free 28-page Worm Con­trol in Sheep guide.

It sets out the steps shep­herds should take to en­sure any new or re­turn­ing sheep com­ing on to their farm or croft do not bring re­sis­tant worms with them.

QMS said the in­for­ma­tion in the guide was par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant now at a time when ma­jor sheep sales are tak­ing place across the coun­try and thou­sands of sheep are be­ing moved to new lo­ca­tions.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s knowl­edge trans­fer spe­cial­ist, Heather McCal­man, said it was hoped the guide would help min­imise the po­ten­tial build-up of wormer re­sis­tance, also known as an­thelmintic re­sis­tance, in the Scot­tish sheep in­dus­try.

“There are in­creas­ing lev­els of an­thelmintic re­sis­tance re­sult­ing both from in­ten­sive graz­ing of ‘sheep only’ pas­tures and from a reliance on heav- ily used prod­ucts,” said Ms McCal­man.

“There are a range of tac­tics to use – from the clean and safe graz­ing of­fered by silage af­ter­maths, sim­ply group­ing lambs by age and the use of bioac­tive for­ages like chicory – which can all con­trib­ute to a strate­gic ap­proach to an­thelmintic treat­ment and worm con­trol.” The wormer guide em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of choos­ing the right prod­uct for the right an­i­mal at the right time.

It also pro­vides ad­vice on man­ag­ing worms through grass­land man­age­ment and how best to as­sess and re­duce pas­ture risk.

Andrew Bail­lie, of Carstairs Mains Farm in La­nark­shire, has suc­cess­fully used graz­ing man­age­ment and fae­cal egg counts (FECs) to re­duce the need for an­thelmintics.

By us­ing reg­u­lar FECs as a tool to re­duce the num­ber of times lambs were treated, Mr Bail­lie saved £800 in an­thelmintics for the 600 lambs and the 400 ewes in the first year of adopt­ing this prac­tice, whilst main­tain­ing av­er­age lamb growth rates of 200-300g per day.

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